APAD: Instant Upgrade

April 6th, 2007
WordPress, WordPress Plugins


Plugin Page:

The InstantUpgrade plugin provides is a easy and safe way to upgrade your WordPress automatically with a single click (Almost!)
You can upgrade to the latest WordPress version, or you can upgrade to a version of your choice.

How it Works:
The InstantUpgrade plugin downloads the latest WordPress version from the WordPress server and unpacks it at your server.
In the next step, it deletes all of your old WordPress files (except wp-content/ and wp-config.php and language packs) and puts the new files into your WordPress directory.
At last, it runs the upgrade script contained it the new WordPress version.

Installation and Usage:
Installation and usage of this plugin requires a bit more work from a user point of view because of various permissions that need to be set.

You download the plugin and upload it in your plugins folder and activate it.

You need to chmod your WordPress base folder, wp-admin and wp-includes and their subdirectores (except wp-config) to 777. You also need to do the same to the work folder in the plugin directory. These permissions would not have to be set if you have phpsuexec or similar installed where your scripts run as your user id.

Future Plans:
– plugin’s self upgrade
– some sort of dry-run mode for the scared
– support other WP editions (e.g. that of the German WP community)
– Allow defining files to preserve (even though this is discouraged)
– if WP officially introduces and maintains incremental upgrades, support them, too
– Auto take care of the file permissions possibly via FTP

Recently, WordPress releases have become rather frequent, with a release almost every month. While several users like me prefer using shell to speed up upgrades, most normal users are stuck with the normal lengthy routine of doing so, which can become quite a pain in the neck if you have several blogs to upgrade.
InstantUpgrade bids a happy farewell to that procedure.

Installing the plugin is easy, but using it requires a bit more work. You have to remember to backup all your files and the database before running the plugin. At this point the plugin will not automate this. You also need to set write permissions before running the plugin and remove them after running (for best security).

One thing I like about the plugin is the ability to upgrade your blog to the latest WordPress version as well as any version that you choose, which means that users running 2.0.x version can also use this plugin.

Only thing I don’t recommend is to do major upgrades using this plugin. When I say major upgrade, I mean something like a jump from 2.0 to 2.1 and 2.1 to 2.2 in about two weeks time.

The reason is that WordPress includes major changes in the core during these version changes. The InstantUpgrade plugin doesn’t disable all your plugins. With major changes, there is a good possibility that many plugins may not work and could really mess up your blog!

However, for minor version changes, this is one of the best solutions we have today to upgrade our WordPress blogs.

Are you using this plugin? Have you faced any problems? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?




  1. Lazy (1 comments.) says:

    hm, trunk update would be really nice if supported, too.. :)

  2. Nanio (1 comments.) says:

    A world where WordPress updates itself as easily as Firefox is a happy little dream.

  3. Rasmus (10 comments.) says:

    Well, if you can fall in love with a WP plugin this certainly must be it ;)

  4. Alex (10 comments.) says:

    First I want to thank you very much for reviewing this plugin, Ajay. :)

    Funny thing, you write “Auto take care of the file permissions possibly via FTP “, while I actually ment to do the entire transfer via FTP. But thinking of it, it might really be easier to handle only the permissions via FTP . Gotta keep that in mind!

    As for the deactivating of the plugins, I still wonder what the benefits are. Sure, it would be quite easy to implement a routine to deactivate all active plugins and reactivate them afterwards. However, if a plugin is broken with the new version, I think it doesn’t mattter whether you deactivated it before or not. You will get an error message either way. But if I hear good arguments in favour of that routine, I’ll of course include it.

    Lazy: I would love to support this, and I even looked around for a solution, but there is no PHP client for subversion available, and the web svn at cannot be considered as a reliable interface for out purposes.

  5. Ajay (209 comments.) says:

    Thanks for making our work easier Alex!

    I thought you meant permissions only, but the entire thing via FTP can definitely make it easier. You wouldn’t have to bother about permissions even then.

  6. MrCorey (14 comments.) says:

    Great plugin find, Ajay. Alex, I can see why deactivating plugins would be prudent. I run my site on nightly builds and update every few weeks, once testing on my computer for a bit. I tried getting set with the build from 04/05/2007 and UTW threw out errors, which caused the site to be inaccessible via WP. I had to FTP in and rename the plugin to .phps to get the site to view. Deactivating this plugin would have allowed me access. When I tried to activate it, I would have been given the message that it could not be activated as it caused fatal errors (new cool feature in 2.2). So, this would be a good reason to disable the plugins on upgrade.

  7. Fred (2 comments.) says:

    I’m using the plugin and it took care of the jump to 2.1.2 and the latest 2.1.3, works like a charm, but I have to click TWO buttons, what’s up with that?! Seriously, I love it.

  8. Alex (10 comments.) says:

    I thought you meant permissions only, but the entire thing via FTP can definitely make it easier. You wouldn’t have to bother about permissions even then.

    The problem is that for the FTPing we will have to use a library that works with raw FTP commands via fsockopen() in order to ensure the largest compatibility across servers (not everybody has PHP’s FTP extension installed). This makes it hard to implement fancy features, and it makes sense to reduce the use of FTPing to the neccessary parts.

  9. Soverato News (3 comments.) says:

    Good, what is the memory usage on the server, because my hosting limit it to 12MB. Is enough?

  10. Ray Lao (1 comments.) says:

    I like the plugin, though i still like updating through shell access. :)

  11. Guy R. Vestal (10 comments.) says:

    I installed this plugin a while ago on my other weblog, and have it on my newest one now. And I must admit, I like the “dry-run” idea. I remember sitting at the computer at 2:30 am in the morning, after backing everything up wondering if when I clicked the button whether or not it was going to kick start the Apocolypse, and signal the end of the world as I knew it! I started to panic, woke up my wife, and had her hold my hand whilst I did it. And to my surprise it worked like a dream come true. This plugin is a MUST for those that are looking for an effortless way to upgrade without a tear shed.

    BUT PLEASE! Back-up everything first! Even though it works like a champ, and I love it like no other, it can never hurt to keep that baby backed up just in case of the Apocolypse! :)

  12. Gemma (2 comments.) says:

    Ooo, now this is pretty exciting. Obviously, not for people who have customized their source codes, but definately an essential for people running clean, unedited versions. I may have to give this a try.

    Gemma x

  13. Mark Zinj (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks! This is something I was looking for. I have 11 WordPress blogs to update to 2.1.3 and my web hosting account does not provide free upgrade service.

    Thanks again.


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